Archive for October, 2010
Living water – 6. October, 2010
As a child I am fascinated by wells. Before piped water is available to households in Singpore, villagers have to depend on wells for clean water. A hole is dug deep into the ground until water is found. A low wall is built surrounding the hole, tall enough to prevent curious children from falling in. A bucket with a rope is then used to draw water. I would peer over the edge, watching the floating pail and trying to flip it over to draw water, shuddering at thoughts of accidentally falling in.
Even today, with no water piped to Ubin island, well water supply most of Ubin water needs for villagers and for visitors using Npark toilets.
The water at Npark toilets are not potable due to possible contamination. But elsewhere on the island, the wells are pure as natural springs, fed through rainfall on the surrounding woodlands, making then a refreshing sight for trekkers. The water is so abundant that they exerted enough pressure to resist saltwater intrusion. As a result, some wells were built close to sea shores like this still functioning well located near the the only mosque in Pulau Ubin (already sadly demolished).
Typical of our civil service mentality. Right after the post, they began to worry about people falling into wells. All the wells are sealed up with metal frames. Wells with narrow openings off the trails with historical interest were reinforced with modern cement done hurriedly by the cheapest contractor. The picture above is now an archival record of how the original well looks like.
The only time the wells started to dry up was in 1997 and 1981 where fresh water are brought from the mainland. There were some lasting effect, some durian trees closer to sea died or are no longer able to fruit anymore due to saltwater intrusion.